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Hazael

Hazael was an official of King Benhadad II of Syria who became king after Benhadad's death. Although a foreign-to-Israel king, it was The Lord who brought him to power, as instructed to Elijah, "Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria" (1 Kings 19:15 KJV). The appointment wasn't exactly a favor to Hazael, but rather Hazael was to used to punish Israel and Judah (see also When Israel Became "Israel" and "Judah") for their unfaithfulness to The Lord. In effect, Hazael of Syria became an appointed agent of The Lord's wrath (see the Fact Finder question for another foreign king who served the same purpose).

"And the anger of The Lord was kindled against Israel, and He delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria"

The Lord's instructions to Elijah were actually a mission to eventually bring about three appointments, two kings, and a prophet to succeed Elijah himself, Elisha.

Syria

"And The Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay." (1 Kings 19:15-17 KJV)

As an official of "Benhadad the king of Syria," Hazael was sent by the king to Elisha, who by then had succeeded Elisha according to The Lord's command (see also Where Did Elijah Go?), to inquire if Benhadad would recover from the illness from which he was suffering. Elisha's answer was that Benhadad would recover, meaning could have recovered from the illness, but would nevertheless die. How? Because Hazael was going to kill Benhadad and succeed him as king of Syria. It then happened exactly as prophesied.

"And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither. And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and inquire of The Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?"

"So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?"

"And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit The Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die. And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept."

"And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord?"

"And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child."

"And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?"

"And Elisha answered, The Lord hath showed me that thou shalt be king over Syria."

"So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover. And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead. And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign." (2 Kings 8:7-16 KJV)

The Lord then used Hazael to reign in disobedient Israel. The Eastern Tribal Lands were lost to Syria (as they are still today - much of Syria and Jordan are composed of the territory that had been allotted to the two and a half tribes of Rueben, Gad and Manasseh in the time of Joshua).

"In those days The Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan" (2 Kings 10:32-33 KJV)

Hazael also threatened the people of Judah at Jerusalem, however Jehoash king of Judah paid him off with many of the city's treasures (but not the Ark of the Covenant - see Raiders Of The Lost Ark).

"Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of The Lord, and in the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem." (2 Kings 12:17-18 KJV)

The Lord used Hazael as an agent of wrath, "And the anger of The Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days." That wrath extended to both Israel and Judah

"In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. And the anger of The Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days." (2 Kings 13:1-3 KJV)

"But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz." (2 Kings 13:22 KJV)

Hazael reigned well over forty years (a notable achievement considering that "elections" back then were often a matter of assassination) and was succeeded on the throne by his son Benhadad - ironically, Hazael's son was given the same name as the king who Hazael murdered to make himself king.

"So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 13:24 KJV)

Fact Finder: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered the Kingdom of Judah after the people of Judah became corrupt. Was the pagan Nebuchadnezzar a "servant" (KJV) of The Lord who was used to punish the people of Israel for their unfaithfulness?
Jeremiah 27:6; see also Why Babylon?


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